The 73rd annual U.S. Women’s Curling Association (USWCA) National Bonspiel scheduled for Feb. 2021 at the Madison Curling Club in McFarland has been cancelled due to concerns over the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“It is with a heavy heart that the USWCA 2021 National Bonspiel in Madison, Wisconsin is cancelled,” said USWCA president Beth Lepping. “Again, situations beyond the control of the USWCA have necessitated this outcome, and it is the decision of the Madison Curling Club Board of Directors not to host any bonspiels for the 2020-21 curling season.”
Bonspiels are weekend-long tournaments with participants playing several games. They began before the 20th century at outdoor facilities, but are now typically held indoors.
Lepping said the activities that are part of a bonspiel would make it difficult to adhere to safety guidelines implemented to control spread of the virus.
“We curl together, we broomstack together, we eat and drink together, we travel together, we room together – there is little about a bonspiel involving social distancing,” she said. “Sadly, the suggested best practices designed to improve safety do nothing to further a rewarding bonspiel experience.”
At the 2020 bonspiel held in Seattle, the Madison Curling Club team of Kathy Pielage, Star Pfiffner, Judi Page and Dae Jean Jahnke were second event winners. The event attracted 32 curling clubs from all over the U.S. including eight in Wisconsin.
“The goal has always been to safely provide the opportunity to meet, curl, make and renew friendships,” Lepping said. “With our members spread across the country, our meetings and bonspiels are often the only opportunities each year we physically connect, which makes cancelling that much more painful. That being said, during these unprecedented times, our most essential responsibility is to keep everyone safe and healthy.”